Marko Ristić (1902-1984, Belgrade) was one of the Serbian Surrealist scene's leading protagonists.
As early as 1926 and 1927, during his stay in Paris, he had the opportunity to meet André Breton and the Surrealist circle of Parisian artists. A visit to Breton's apartment, full of Surrealist works, inspired the creation of his Surrealist Wall, where, in addition to Max Ernst's Owl, which formed the backbone of the wall, works by Yves Tanguy, Andrea Mason, African masks and fetishes appeared over time. Ristić did not complete the wall until the 1960s.
While in Paris, he also created the La vie mobile series, which consists of eleven collages and two drawings. Contrasting different impressions from the city that delights him, in that series Ristić contrasted fragments of maps, newspapers, postcards, photographs, stamped letters, coloured papers, maps, invitations, newspaper ads and other souvenirs collected in Paris. The name La vie en mobile is taken from a poem by Vane Bor. In the collages, through associations, selected textual and artistic motifs are of equal importance. The series's main features are the discontinuity and aggressiveness of the fragments, which confuses the beholder's eye.
After returning from Paris in 1928, he published the anti-novel Bez mere, and during the same and the following year, he worked with Vane Bor on a series of photographs in Vrnjačka Banja. Ristić's works from that period are characterised by overlapping motifs that create an atmosphere of astonishment. The artists publish a single copy of the book M'VRAUA. Only the collage titled Bludnik has been preserved from it, in which a witty textual narration and a confusing visual message are again contrasted. The collage was published a year later in the almanac Nemoguće, in 1930, edited by Ristić.
In the first issue of the almanac, among other things, a surrealist manifesto was published, as well as a series of twelve Ristić's collages Ljuskari na prsima and a film script of the same name by Aleksandar Vučo. The collages were composed on the silent film principle, and the textual parts interrupted the visual narration.
Ristić was also one of the editors of the magazine Nadrealizam danas i ovde, from 1931 and 1932, which marked the end of Serbian Surrealists' group activities. However, Ristić continued his artistic and publishing activities. In 1932, he published the book Anti-zid with Vane Bor, wrote texts and poems, and in 1938 collaborated with the Parisian magazine Minotaure.
Ristić's poem Turpituda was confiscated in 1938 when it left the bookbindery "because of its content in its entirety, because it is a criminal act punishable under the Law on the Protection of Public Security and Order in the State", as stated in the decision of the State Prosecutor's Office which Ristić received on 14 July 1938. As stated in the subtitle, this paranoid-didactic rhapsody is a surrealist poem in which, per surrealist principles, elements of eroticism, war, and various dreams are connected. It is artistically equipped with drawings by Krsto Hegedušić. During the seizure, the entire edition of Turpituda was destroyed. Still, police officers preserved several copies that were later available in antique shops, and one copy ended up with Ristić himself. Turpituda was first published only in 1955 in the magazine Delo.
During World War II, he spent some time in captivity. Since 1944 he has published political articles in the Politika and Borba magazines and is one of the co-founders of the magazines Svedočanstva (1952) and Delo (1955). In 1951, he was appointed Yugoslav ambassador to Paris and a corresponding member of the Yugoslav Academy of Sciences and Arts in Zagreb.